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Old 08-05-2009, 09:50 AM   #1
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1972 31' Sovereign
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Picking Up Very 1st Trailer

So from checking out this forum and doing some research, we decided our very fist trailer should be an Airstream.
We are picking up a 1972 31' Sovereign on Friday. Appears to be in awesome shape, thanks to all of you for telling me what to look for.
My biggest question has to do with the trailer hook up. I am getting a sway bar with it. I have a 2004 Nissan Titan do I need to do anything special for the trailer brakes? For our boat we just plug it in and go.
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Old 08-05-2009, 10:05 AM   #2
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Picking Up Very 1st Trailer

Greetings NashBuff!

Welcome to the Forums and the world of Vintage Airstream ownership!

Quote:
Originally Posted by NashBuff View Post
So from checking out this forum and doing some research, we decided our very fist trailer should be an Airstream.
We are picking up a 1972 31' Sovereign on Friday. Appears to be in awesome shape, thanks to all of you for telling me what to look for.
My biggest question has to do with the trailer hook up. I am getting a sway bar with it. I have a 2004 Nissan Titan do I need to do anything special for the trailer brakes? For our boat we just plug it in and go.



At the bare minimum, you will need to be prepared for:
  • Weight distributing hitch with adjustable head that will allow a hitch height of approximately 19"
  • Hitch ball measuring 2 5/16" with a weight rating of at least 8,000 pounds.
  • Sway control of your choice -- either friction or built-in hitch type such as Reese Dual Cam or Equal-I-zer
  • Load pulling capability to handle an empty weight of:
    • 4,990 pounds
    • With an empty hitch weight of 520 pounds
  • Electronic Brake Controller
  • Seven pole Bargman type connector on tow vehicle.
  • Extended trailer towing mirrors
Remember that empty weight reflects only the trailer with no optional equipment and absolutely no fluids on board. Typical loaded weight of a coach of this size will easily surpass 6,000 pounds, and could approach 6,500 pounds rather easily.

Good luck with your new coach!

Kevin

P.S.: Also, be prepared for the possibility that the trailer will not be wired to the industry standard of today for the Bargman plug. It was well into the 1980s before Airstream adopted the Industry Standard Bargman Plug Wiring schematic. The Bargman plug on a 1972 Airstream was wired to this schematic. Your truck will likely be wired to the current Industry Standard for the Barman plug as shown in this schematic.
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1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 08-05-2009, 10:12 AM   #3
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Welcome from the Florida Panhandle

First off, welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

Congrats on your new baby.

You most definitely need to install a trailer brake controller to your tow vehicle. Tekonsha brand brand are generally considered the best. I have both a Prodigy and a P-3. I would recommend thew P-3.

Brian
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Old 08-05-2009, 10:21 AM   #4
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Welcome and congratulations!!!

Do everything overlander64 says and you'll be just fine!! He was my resource when I first bought too.
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Old 08-05-2009, 10:32 AM   #5
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1972 31' Sovereign
1985 31' Excella
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Wow thanks for the quick responses. Looks like from the list I need a lower hitch and Brake controller. I am pretty sure they already have the new plug.
Why do I need a brake controller? Isn't that part of the new wiring? Sorry first trailer.
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Old 08-05-2009, 10:45 AM   #6
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1972 31' Sovereign
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OK just found the Harness Electric Brake Jumper that came with my Titan. I guess that will make it easier.
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Old 08-05-2009, 10:51 AM   #7
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The brake controller in the tow vehicle allows you to adjust and activate the trailer brakes. It also allows you to use the trailer brakes without activating the tow vehicles brakes. Without it, you will have no brakes on the trailer.

Brian
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Old 08-05-2009, 10:53 AM   #8
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Picking Up Very 1st Trailer

Greetings NashBuff!

Quote:
Originally Posted by NashBuff View Post
Wow thanks for the quick responses. Looks like from the list I need a lower hitch and Brake controller. I am pretty sure they already have the new plug.
Why do I need a brake controller? Isn't that part of the new wiring? Sorry first trailer.
The brake controller is not generally part of the basic trailer wiring package. Most dealers do this so that the customer can specify which controller that they prefer. If a controller is provided with the base package, it is usually something similar to the Tekonsha Voayager -- a very basic pendulum-type controller (most consider it adequate, but just barely). In fact, unless the customer specifies the precise configuration the connector could be six-pole or some other configuration particularly in this day of flat-type connectors being provided with some of the new tow vehicles.

Don't count on the new plug being there -- or that if it is that it will be wired to the current industry standard. Neither of my coaches had been wired to the current industry standard so each required re-wiring of the trailer connector end prior to towing. I always carry a spare car and trailer end in my tool box to provide for the instance of having corroded contacts in either device. I have recently converted to the commercial truck-type connectors with round pins rather than blades as they are said to be far more resistant to corrossion.

Good luck with your project!

Kevin
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1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 08-05-2009, 11:01 AM   #9
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Thanks for the help I am getting a new P-3 tomorrow.

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Old 08-05-2009, 11:29 AM   #10
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Nice looking AS. You're gonna love Airstreaming.
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